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Marijuana is the theme this Sunday

Donna Daniels

The big day is fast approaching, a day the cops dread and the Carbondale government officials hope won’t erupt into a pot-smoking free-for-all.

The first annual “Concert of Celiberation,” sponsored by Mothers Advocating Marijuana Understanding, is set for this Sunday.

The day, which is expected to last from noon ’til dusk in Carbondale’s Sopris Park, is slated to be filled with music, talk and food.

As organizer Ed Eaton explained, “It’s primarily music.” In this case the medium is the message, because its intent is to “educate the public about issues concerning marijuana,” he said.

The event became something of a cause clbre when MAMU initially came to the town for permission to use the park. While the cops took a hard line that a big crowd would call for stepped-up police security as well as additional Port-a-Potties, the town board expressed concern about the message the event will send about illegal drug use.

However, the board based its decision to allow the event based on the group’s First Amendment right of free speech. The board did throw in the caveat that if the crowd grows to more than 300 the cops will shut it down and make everyone go home.

“We don’t have a clue” how many will show up, Eaton said. “It’s a first-time event. Realistically, I think we’ll have between 200 and 300.”

On tap for the day are a number of speakers who will address various uses of and political issues around marijuana. Andy Mowery of Telluride, who represents the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, will speak about legalization.

Carbondale’s Doc Philip will discuss its medicinal uses and Eaton will focus on the political issues.

Eaton said his theme will be “stepping out of the closet.” He will relate the gay rights movement to marijuana legalization. “For years gays remained in the closet because of fear of retaliation,” he said. But they organized and “stepped out of the closet to speak up for themselves.

“I feel strongly that recreational users need to do the same thing.”

Laws need to be changed for simple possession of the drug. “I’m not talking about dealing to children,” he said. “I’m talking simple use” by otherwise law-abiding citizens and productive members of the community “who have good values.”

One of the important effects of changing the law would be to allow hemp production. Hemp, a byproduct of the marijuana plant, was used in the manufacture of rope and clothing until the 1930s, Eaton said. In fact, the first American flag was made out of hemp cloth. “There are 50,000 uses,” Eaton said.

Also offered will be music from local rock musicians Eliah Levy and 7th Hour. Headlining the event is The Bredren, a reggae band.


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